Significant Stuff

May 18, 2010

I’ve been cutting my own bangs for about a year now.  My stylist is going to freak, but it’s time to bite the bullet and make an appointment.

There have been 3 hair stylists in my life who have done such a good job that I’ve walked out of their salons in amazement.  One is in LA, one is in North Carolina and one is about a 15 minute walk away on Brady Street here in Milwaukee, WI.

These are people who get it.  Let me tell you how.  Michael doesn’t ask me what I want done with my hair.  He asks me how I like to live and about who I am.  Then he cuts my hair so that it looks like the best version of me possible and so that my hair makes my life better.

Yes, that is worth $100.

This may seem like the stupidest rant ever, but here goes.  I am not a hair stylist.  I cannot see all the way around my head.  I have no idea what happens when hair gets cut in a particular way.  I am not looking at myself in the mirror all day long.  Heck, it’s amazing when I think to look in the mirror once or twice a day.  Do not ask me how I want you to cut my hair.  You went to school.  You tell me how you think my hair should be cut.  And then do it.

Own your expertise.  Ask the right questions, listen and then demonstrate your prowess.  Expect active participation, but do not expect someone to become the expert that you are by mere association.  Do not become frustrated with people because they don’t understand to the same level that you do.

Ron is a master at this.  Me?  It’s not my natural inclination.  The easy (read: lazy) route is to give in and do it the way the other person wants.  To acquiesce to their comfort zone at the expense of expertise and perspective.  There are times when compromise is appropriate and productive.  There are times when it’s not.  It’s always appropriate to listen to someone and to ask questions.

Ron used to tell Rikki that he always did exactly what she wanted but that sometimes she didn’t know exactly what that was and it was his job to tell her.  It was a funny, respectful, trusting relationship.  A working relationship that produced great results for a long time.  They were perfectly capable of driving each other crazy, but that was part and parcel of the big picture.  Both knew what the other had to offer and respected each perspective.  They knew when to get out of each others way.  Or knew when to step in.

Time to get that haircut.  I wonder what he’ll do.  I expect I’ll like it.


Susan Scot Fry

Update… Who knew this would get a huge number of facebook comments.  I don’t think that everyone read the post itself, though.  This is much less about getting a good haircut than it is about owning your expertise.

Some comments:

I know exactly how you feel. I finally after YEARS of going to salons, spas and cost cutters here in Janesville found a stylist that “got it”.
I have fired many people for just that reason. When I find someone who understands I do not want to spend hours doing things to my hair, I stay with them. They are hard to find.
They do that to men too. I generally say “like this, but shorter”
I couldn’t agree with you more. I’ve not had a stylist that I was happy with for at least 15 years. I think it should be enough to say “I’d like something flattering that is easy to care for.” Frankly the first part of that statement should be unnecessary, but I’ve found that isn’t necessarily true.
As a stylist.. I can say we’re not psychics.. we don’t KNOW what you want. Many people have an idea of what they want & don’t want… and what’s worse is people who just cannot communicate what they want, or what they describe is entirely different all together.  What YOU might think looks good on you, may be very different than what actually … See Morelooks good & that’s a fine line we tread.. do we tell you your taste sucks?
I always recommend taking in a picture of what you think you’d like & say, here’s what I’m thinking, what do YOU think?
Otherwise, without some sort of communication, you’re just setting yourself up for disappointment with probably an otherwise great stylist.
I hardly ever get my hair cut because it seems that cutting curly hair is not in the training manuals. I usually get some goofy cut where the top layer shrinks up like Bozo’s hair while the bottom stays straggly. I have found that describing what I want and what I don’t want has relatively little effect if what I say conflicts with whatever the … See Morepopular cut is. I finally gave up on professional hair cuts when that Jennifer Aniston ‘do was all the rage. After a couple of years of the frizz-n-straggle, I decided that clean and combed was my only goal. Every time I give in and get a hair cut, I regret it until it grows out.
My hair is very curly. It HAS to be cut in layers, or I am a pyramid-head. The shortest layer NEEDS to be 2″ or so, and the rest needs to be cut at about a 30 degree angle. This is VERY specific, but most stylists don’t get it.
If you’re willing to drive to Kenosha I’ll give you a recommendation of someone who gives the best cuts between Milw and Chcago.
Hair stylists are like mechanics, dentists and doctors I guess. You find one you like, never let them retire or move away!
I’ve got an appointment today with Michael at Halo on Brady. He’s the shit.

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